Meet Scoot, your friendly cursor teleportation and actuation tool.
Scoot is a tiny utility app that provides fast, keyboard-driven control over the mouse pointer. Scoot lets you move your mouse—and click and drag, too—all from the comfort of your keyboard!
Scoot supports two navigation modes: element-based, and grid-based.
- Element-based navigation: MacOS accessibility APIs are used to find user interface elements, such as buttons and links, on the user’s screen. (In this mode, Scoot will look for elements in the focused window of the frontmost app.) Here, for example, Scoot has identified the only link on the page (“More information…”), and assigned it the key sequence “aa”:
- Grid-based navigation: all connected screens are subdivided into a grid of equally-sized cells.
Each location is identified by a unique character sequence, making each element (or cell) uniquely addressable with the keyboard — simply type the associated key sequence to teleport your mouse cursor to that location.
Scoot is experimental. Is it possible to craft a keyboard-driven mouse movement utility that’s actually efficient? Something that you’ll actually want to use? This is going to take some trial and error.
Scoot is in the early proof of concept + prototyping stage.
Scoot runs on MacOS 11 (Big Sur), and 12 (Monterey).
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Scoot complements mouse-related accessibility tools that ship as part of MacOS, such as Mouse Keys and other accessibility shortcuts, in addition to mouse emulation provided via keyboard firmware like QMK.
To activate Scoot in the element-based navigation mode, use the ⇧⌘J global keyboard shortcut. Alternatively, to activate Scoot in the grid-based navigation mode, use the ⇧⌘K global keyboard shortcut.
(As long as Scoot is running, either hotkey will bring the app to the foreground, and activate the requested navigation mode.)
When Scoot is in the foreground:
You can jump directly to a cell (a UI element, or a location in the grid, depending on the active navigation mode). Each cell is marked with a label (e.g. “aaa”, “aas”, “aad”); type the characters, one letter at a time, and, as soon as a complete sequence is entered, the mouse cursor will move directly to the center of the corresponding cell. (This approach, including the use of a char-based decision tree, is heavily inspired by avy.)
- If you make a mistake while entering a label, hit the escape key (⎋) to cancel and start over. (Alternatively, you can type ⌘. or C-G.)
You can also move the cursor via the standard Mac keyboard shortcuts for moving the insertion point. (This means that keyboard shortcuts intended for navigating around in a document have been re-purposed to control movement on a 2-dimensional grid. Some liberties have been taken with this mapping; hopefully you find these keybindings intuitive.)
You can click with the left mouse button (at the current cursor location) by hitting the Return (↵) key.
You can hold the left mouse button down by hitting ⌘↵. (To release the button, type ⌘↵ again, or, alternatively, just press ↵ on its own.)
- To perform a drag-and-drop operation: situate the cursor above the object you want to drag and press ⌘↵, then move the mouse cursor to the desired drag destination (using one or more of the mechanisms that Scoot makes available), and then press ⌘↵ again to perform the drop.
You can double-click with the left mouse button (at the current cursor location) by hitting the Shift and Return keys together (⇧↵).
You can scroll, by pressing the Shift key in conjunction with the arrow key (↑, ↓, ←, →) pointing in the desired scroll direction.
After clicking, the grid will automatically hide. You can also hide the grid at any time by pressing ⌘H.
|⇧⌘J||Use element-based navigation (bring Scoot to foreground)|
|⇧⌘K||Use grid-based navigation (bring Scoot to foreground)|
|⌘H||Hide UI (bring Scoot to background)|
|⎋ (or ⌘.)||C-g||Cancel: if currently typing a label, clears all currently-typed characters; otherwise, brings Scoot to background|
Note: ⎋ signifies the Escape key.
|↑||C-p||Move cursor up (partial step)|
|↓||C-n||Move cursor down (partial step)|
|←||C-b||Move cursor left (partial step)|
|→||C-f||Move cursor right (partial step)|
|⌥↑||M-a||Move cursor up (full step)|
|⌥↓||M-e||Move cursor down (full step)|
|⌥←||M-b||Move cursor left (full step)|
|⌥→||M-f||Move cursor right (full step)|
|⌘↑||M-<||Move cursor to top edge of screen|
|⌘↓||M->||Move cursor to bottom edge of screen|
|⌘←||C-a||Move cursor to left edge of screen|
|⌘→||C-e||Move cursor to right edge of screen|
|⌃L||C-l||Move cursor to center, and (on repeat) cycle around corners|
|↵||Click left mouse button (at current cursor location)|
|⌘↵||Press and hold left mouse button (once activated, type ⌘↵ again to release)|
|⇧↵||Double-click left mouse button (at current cursor location)|
Note: ↵ signifies the Return (a.k.a Enter) key. (Technically, Return and Enter are two different keys.)
|⇧↑||⇧-p||Scroll up (at current cursor location)|
|⇧↓||⇧-n||Scroll down (at current cursor location)|
|⇧←||⇧-b||Scroll left (at current cursor location)|
|⇧→||⇧-f||Scroll right (at current cursor location)|
|⌃=||Toggle visibility of grid lines|
|⌃⇧=||Toggle visibility of grid labels|
|⇧⌘=||Increase size of grid cells|
|⇧⌘-||Decrease size of grid cells|
|⌘=||Increase contrast of user interface|
|⌘-||Decrease contrast of user interface|
To install Scoot:
- Download and extract the latest build of Scoot.
- Drag the extracted Scoot.app into your computer’s Applications folder.
- Double-click on Scoot.app (from the Applications folder) to launch it.
On first run, you’ll be presented with a prompt like the following:
Scoot will not work unless access is granted. (Note that Scoot does not collect any user or usage-related information, and does not make any network requests. The app runs entirely locally, and treats its privileged access with the utmost respect.)
To grant this permission, click “Open System Preferences”. Next, click the lock in the bottom left corner (“Click the lock to make changes”).
Finally, check “Scoot.app” to give Scoot the ability to move your cursor, and to click, drag, and scroll.
See the usage documentation for details on how to use Scoot.
If you’re finding Scoot helpful, you may want to configure the app to launch automatically when you log in. To set this up, open System Preferences again, click “Users & Groups”, and then “Login Items”:
As before, you’ll need to click the lock in the bottom left corner to unlock this preference pane. Once unlocked, click the “+” button, and select “Scoot.app” from the Applications folder. Checking the “Hide” checkbox is recommended.
If you encounter any problems, feel free to file an issue.
Drag and Drop
Here’s what it’s like to drag and drop with Scoot, using the grid-based navigation mode:
For reference, the following key sequence was used to grab the file and drop it in a new location:
⇧⌘Kto activate Scoot
khto jump cursor to cell
⌘↵to press and hold the left mouse button
fdto jump cursor to cell
↵to release the left mouse button
See the issue tracker. Contributions welcome!
Scoot is released under the terms of the BSD 3-Clause License.
Copyright (c) 2021-20
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